Tag Archives: Recruitment and selection

Acting as a psychologist within recruitment and selection

A rose is a rose and a spade is a spade and there is not so much more to say about that (even though there are hundreds of different types of roses). But the man or the woman who applies to a position in a company or any other kind of organization may appear as he or she is exactly up to the requirements, but this could be “fake news”. Most Humans are early trained to become Masters of Disguise, meaning that several resources are used in order to convince other people that you are very kind even when you are not in the mood for that kind of feelings, and that your are very reliable, or very sustained, or very truthful or whatever even when you, yourself, have doubts about it all.

Anyway, when you apply for a job position that you really want, you will most probably straighten up and try your very best to stand out as the best of all possible candidates. Just looking at the surface is always tempting. Bright eyes, a good looking facial expression, nice clothes, hair dressed properly and we want really to find that this is the candidate looked for because we don´t like to stroll around with a generally critical mind. But, in the back of the brain, there might be some warning signs, leading to some doubts.
And this is quite often the corridor to the psychologist. “Could you please assist in this case”, is the start of the request. “Please try to come up with an answer of what kind of person this candidate is, not only in the recruitment situation, but later on, as a manager or a leader within this organization.”

For me this is a very well known situation. I have decades of experiences in detecting and uncovering several of all layers in humans, and yes, I quite often use test instruments, but as I do not look at them as completely realiable or valid, because there is no test that is complete in this sense, I have to trust my own senses when meeting and speaking with the candidate. And there is nothing mystical about my senses. I just have to be careful and as logical in my analysis as possible. In that respect I work almost as a judge in the court room: I have to interrogate and come to fair conclusions, and, most of all, I have to come up with clear statements based on facts and good enough arguments for my findings, and I can definitely not just refer to some points on a test scale, but I have to give a wide and deep enough description of the candidate to reach my goal.

Requirements of a good selector

A selector is the one that primarily selects people for employment during a recruitment program. There are, or ought to be, very high requirements to become a selector as he, or she, is the key person for the future of the candidates – and for the company or organization he works for.
Here are some suggestions from my side regarding the requirements of a selector (to make it simple I will use “he” only, even if there are a lot of females working in this area as well):
1. He has to have a very well founded education and training in behaviour sciences.
2. He has to understand and admit that psychological test instruments are very rough tools, meaning that they, if they are used, have to become interpreted and evaluated together with a lot of other data.
3. He has to understand some fundamental basics of both cognitive neurological and psychodynamic processes that are always going on behind and beyond the surface of people.
4. He has to understand the individual’s position within all groups and organizations the candidate is affiliated to.
5. He has to have a good and sharp overview of the interaction between the single individual and the powers of the society in which the candidate lives and works.
6. He has to be a very good analyst of the different layers of the Human Mind. A background and experiences from working with people in the clinical sector (for example work as a psychotherapist) is a very attractive strength.
7. He has to be very good in his communication with others, thus always be prepared to explain why and how he is analyzing the candidates in the way he does and why and how he has come to his conclusions.
8. As a professional selector he has to work within the area of recruitment and selection as his main working area, in this way always improving his own skills.

By my own experience I proclaim a warning for those, who introduce themselves as “experts in selection”, but who do not meet the requirements above. In such cases the recruitment and selection may go completely wrong.